It’s been a while. A long while. I can only apologise for my failure to blog, which I put down to the fact that nothing much has happened. Work got busy, spiritual practices went by the wayside and every day was, well, the same.
Yesterday though, I realised that this is not strictly true, for example, there is one thing I’ve got really good at, namely taking time off. I enjoyed two full weeks without a single work commitment this summer and yesterday, I spent the day mooching about in the September sunshine, on an online silent retreat.
Prior to this summer, I hadn’t taken a holiday in 15 years. I know, 15 YEARS! I’d been away with my family, but always with my laptop in tow, working early in the morning and late at night.
So, I did something different and guess what? The sky didn’t fall in. Clients didn’t leave in their droves and my bank balance remained healthy. Why didn’t somebody tell me it was that easy?
The lightbulb moment came when I read somewhere that you have to start living like the person you want to be. I longed to be one of those women who took as much time off as they needed. All it took was one out of office e-mail signature and I was away!
I like challenges that offer instant results, others, like the novel are not so easy. That won’t happen by magic. I’ve got to put in the hours. Emma Raducanu didn’t wake up late one morning after falling asleep watching Netflix and smash her way through tennis tournaments. Have you read about this young woman? She was seriously committed. Everyone who is brilliant at something has put in the hours.
I see this in my eldest daughter’s artwork. At one point, she was about to give A’Level art a miss because she couldn’t master portraiture. Rather than give up, she spent hours craning over her artist’s pad and now her portraits are awesome. Her eyeballs are even better – she showed me a painting of one yesterday and I mistook it for a photograph.
If you want it enough, you’ll do it. That’s what I say to myself about the novel, only I can’t quite work out how to take it from an okay read to something really good. I don’t know why I can’t settle for mediocre…perhaps that’s the next thing to work on.
Taking time off is not my only newly acquired skill. On hearing a blazing row during a walk around the neighbourhood streets, my daughter said: ‘You used to shout at Dad like that. And us. Then you found Marion and went all weird.’
And long may the weirdness continue. I think the kids kind of miss the shouty, manically busy me, but I don’t. Life’s mostly magical now and when it isn’t, I invariably see it as an opportunity to learn and discover something new about myself.
I haven’t got it all taped. While my work situation is much improved, I still have this hankering to work with people and in my dream life, I run retreats by the sea. The thought of it lights me up so! If feels a long way off, so all I can do is take baby steps….if I am going to relocate to the coast, I will need to move house, which means I have to start by sifting through the mountains of stuff filling every cupboard in this house. A bag of books went to the charity shop last week and a few items of clothing have gone on e-Bay. Slowly, slowly as they say.